Tag: journal

The Three Most Powerful Anti-Depressants I Know

Many people in my family suffer from depression. My grandmothers on both sides were severely affected by depression and my father’s mother used to be bedridden for weeks at a time when she was still alive.

My father suffered severely from depression, and would go months where he was unable to function. Throughout his life he’s struggled with a number of mental health issues over the years and sadly it has opened up a gulf between us – and while I forgive him, I do not wish to spend my time with him.

The reason I mention my family-tree is deeply tainted with depression, is to highlight the fact, that luckily I’ve been spared, which is more unlikely than not, given the history in my family.  Now because, I’m an only child, I don’t have any siblings to study as a control group, but I do believe that there are several other reasons which explains my fortunate mental health, because clearly it is not explained by my genetic makeup.

First and foremost I believe that every person has a higher degree of control over their outlook on life, than we give ourselves credit for. I believe that we can choose to view the world in any number of ways, and if we make a conscious effort, we can choose to look for the upside in any given situation and cultivate an overall positive outlook on life as a result.

My personal experience is that it’s highly effective in combating depression and severe mood-swings, simply because it is fairly difficult to focus on what’s good in your life and on what’s bad in your life simultaneously. I realize that there are more nuances to clinical depression than just thinking bad thoughts, but my experience is that if we consciously look for upside in our lives, we are likely to find it.

Thankfully, science has my back – it’s called the Tetris effect.

Another element which contributes significantly to any persons well-being – I’m no exception – is regular exercise. We’re not talking about ultra-runs or Iron Men or bodybuilder physiques – we’re just talking about moving your body a little every day. I’ve found that doing so is incredibly helpful in terms of warding off any negative emotions. On my best days and my worst days, I’ve always found exercise to be an incredible mood-lifter and it doesn’t matter if it’s going for a run, lifting weights, rowing, biking or simply walking – moving my body around lifts my spirits significantly, regardless of how I do it.

The final habit, which I believe is the most powerful one of the three, is the habit of journaling. Specifically the habit of writing down 3-5 things every day, which I’m grateful for. I’m aware that this can come across as cheesy, and overly simplistic, but I dare you to try it, and tell me the results.

In my experience there is nothing more powerful than expressing my gratitude each and every single day.

Not only does this habit make me focus on the positive and so gives me a double-whammy on the Tetris effect, but it also forces me to look for things, for which I am grateful throughout the day, which helps me find them. In my mind, journaling has a number of added benefits on the side as well such as enhanced creativity, better ideas and it makes it easier to connect with others.

The point here is that journaling – and specifically journaling for gratitude – is an insanely powerful tool, and I believe you will find it to work wonders for you if you give it a try.

In summary…

… If you need a mood lift, or if you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, or even if you feel severely depressed – maybe even clinically so try any combination of the following

  • Look for the upside
  • Move your body
  • Express your gratitude

All the best

Nick

Which single habit will give you the greatest progress?

When David Beckham was a kid – starting at age 11, he would do target practice as a way to hone his freekick skills. He hung a tire from the crossbar and practiced putting the ball through the tire every day before and after regular practice and school. This habit helped him perfect his shot and it also spilled over into exceptional crossing of the ball as well as superb passing-technique. The point is, that this one habit helped young Beckham develop a number of skills which massively accelerated his learning curve. He figured out something he could do consistently which moved him forward as long as he stuck to it.

So much of success boils down to daily habits – linchpin habits if you will – and the payoff we can get from these daily habits can be enormous if we choose the right ones. Linchpin habits varies based on who you are and what you want to achieve, but if you are in sales for instance, you will do well to read 20-30 pages in a book on Sara each day, as well as keep a daily journal of what you did well and what you need to improve.

In fact, keeping a daily journal of what we did well and what we need to improve is one of the most powerful habits any of us can cultivate.

Another powerful habit, is the habit of writing out your thoughts and ideas everyday. Not necessarily intended for publication, but intended to crystallize your own thoughts. If you do this every day, you will soon find that your thoughts become much clearer, and the way you think about things becomes clearer as well.

On top of that, we each have linchpin habits which are specific to our own professions – what is your linchpin habit?